Here’s a fun, free, and completely painless way to knock down your carbon footprint: install LocalCooling, a tiny app that provides a streamlined interface to your computer’s power management functions.
By making a few adjustments to your computer’s power settings, such as going to sleep sooner and spinning down the hard drives after a few minutes of inactivity, you can turn your PC* from a power guzzler to a, well, moderate power chugger. Hey, every little bit helps.
Of course, this is nothing you couldn’t have done already using your computer’s control panels. But presumably most people don’t monkey with these settings because it’s tricky to do so. The LocalCooling app makes it simple.
It also makes it kind of entertaining by providing some extremely dubious statistics about how many trees you’ve saved and optionally feeding your stats into its running scoreboard of power savers. You can even sign up your whole organization and track power savings across the company.
One major caveat, though: the LocalCooling app offer the ability to shut down your PC after a certain number of minutes of inactivity. For some reason I interpreted “shut down” as “go to sleep.” But no, they really mean it — I returned from a trip to the fridge to find that my laptop had completely turned itself off.
I personally find this to be very unwelcome behavior, so I disabled this particular feature.
Anyway, check it out.
* Mac users users who have read this far: sorry.